Friday, July 22, 2005


Hey Guyz....most of U know I have been raving & ranting 'bout this church.

This is how it looked just the morning before I left the city of Ulm. Pretty low temperatures marked my stay in the month of March. Quite unusual weather conditions for that time of the year.

Some Royal Insignia stands in front of the church, and a leafeless tree. I think itz made of lions. Lions - our National animal - (or is it Tiger ???), and I somehow thought Lions are found only in Asia, but was surprised to see them as mascots at quite a few places in Germany (Lake constance for example).

Yes, this Cathedral is called Munster. And is the tallest church in the world. An old began in 1300's....stopped during the Renaisance era I think...people were opposing church ideas and perhaps didn't like the idea of pouring money into building one. And, so the construction was kind of halted.

This is how it looked. Note the change in appearence. The tall spears are missing. Snap taken from a museum in Ulm. After, few centuries, interest arose among the public for this huge church, they realised it was part of their culture etc, and work began again. At this point the design was changed, and they went onto build the tallest church in the world.

A huge courtyard in front of Munster. And itz almost like a town cross, people walk into & away from it ;-) And on saturdays & tuesdays, you have fairs - sale of food items, flowers etc etc. A lot of villagers get their produce. Yes, this guy was playing this long reed instrument one evening. Apparently, this place was a car-park for a long time!!! This snap is of a Museum exhibit. Even now, the presence of a newly build tourism building so close to the church seem to harm the aesthetics of the lovely church.

Rive Danube runs along, less than a km away from the church, and among many birds that live there, these swans took my breath away. The best part of these rivers/water bodies are the people who feed the birds. And, the birds seem to have got habituated to it. Infact, in Ulm you see a lot of birds as mascots all over.

This was taken just after a guy fed the birds, and hence the resulting flight.

Munster stands tall at 161 metres. And, you have stairs that take you right to the top. But in march, we weren't allowed to climb up fully, but stop mid-way. So one day Ganesh & I climbed up. A narrow spiral stairs take you up.

A view of the towers at the back. Notice the renovation work going on. And the roof of the church body.

Munster is huge, with centuries of work different styles of architecture are seen. Lots of sculptors.. of people....from epics...myths...animals like Elephants, Dragons, Lions, etc etc Itz wonderfully curious. The cow above made me smile. Again, this is so Indian for me ;-))

Just above the main entrance to the church you have this, seemed to be a depiction of heaven & hell ;-))

A good book on all these was unfortunately in German. This guyz almost pulling out his sword, with the moon around is one of my favourites.

With lot of snow in early March, these red fruits amongst the white snow was quite a contrast. Snap taken near Media-Mart.

Munster with its hugeness attracted me. You could see the church from afar, and somehow that seemed so assuring. So, we made it a point to walk thru it everytime we left our appartment. Wish I had used panaroma mode to get a good single shot, those were early days with my C760.

A close look at the very top of the cathedral. These spears seem to have a regularity in design. Click on the image for a better view. And, somehow the structure looks like a fractal to me. You can see the overall design in smaller spears too. Looking at pictures of various other churches in Germany I could see many of them with this kind of an architecture.

Tallest church in the world, built around 1860. Has surely survived the ravages of nature but that of Man ?

Yes, our church still stands tall!!! The World War's have spared it though not the neighbourhood. How come ?? I read/heard somewhere that due of the tall spears, resulting aero-dynamics around it, pushed the bombs away ?? what say ??

A snap with the moon as background excited me.....There was a planet also closeby .the white dot between the moon church in the snap below...may be Jupiter...not sure though...

These night snaps require long exposure, and hence have to be stablised on tripods. This snap was taken with the a tree trunk as support.

Sometime in mid-March, the climate changed for the better, these shoots capture it best. Okay, its time to get into the church. Again, centuries of effort so lotz of sculptors, carvings.... what not ;-))

The grey pipes are part of a musical instrument, and these are played daily, and the music sails across for quite a distance.

Lotz & lotz of glass paintaings - murals - mostly from the life of Jesus. Tall glass panes painted...and the sun from outside gets into the church breathing life into them.

A portion of a glass pane. So looks like glass technology was perfected centuries ago ;-)) Any such glass painting from medivial India ??

And zooming onto the centre.

As I walked up, very close to the roof is Jesus nailed onto the cross. Itz tough to see the details thru naked eyes.

So, as I zoomed for this shot. I could have a good look.....and I was moved.

Can't help adding one more snap of the church.

Munster, I simply fell in love with it. Have you too ??

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

MY Kids

Yes, they seemed to go on saying 'eeeeeeeeeeeeeee' until I got a good shot standing ontop of a bench. These are MY kids. Hey...thats not fair is what my gang-mates would say.....and I could have a tough lemme get diplomatic and settle for OUR kids. So henceforth, usage of my kids means our kids, okay guyz.

This is what happened last weekend.

I land up, look around, and the kids come to me. Soon, one of them says 'Uncle Bekkuu', and magically produces this chap from nowhere. I am not a big fan of cats & dogs. I say err...good...nice chap....lemme take some snaps....and soon the little cat is hung like a trophy...the poor chap purrs & meows to no effect.

My kids have this uncanny habit of catching such blokes from godknowswhere and trying to raise them. A few weeks back, they had shown me a baby squirrel. Well, I keep quite & let them be with these animals. Yet, I casually asked so what happend to the squirrel ?? well, they put down their heads...and said 'Uncle...adhu..sathoythooo'...(' died'), well, they seemed to feel bad 'bout it. So I got back to snaps of the cat.

My job for the year is to interact with children from 5 & 6th and some guidance for 10th std kids. The main thrust is on making sure the basics of the younger kids are fine. With that in mind, I start my talk with the 5th kids. I have some 5kids sitting around me, and they are all excited. Ramya, Rani & Amreen from English medium and Navya & Jyothi from Kannada medium. Some basic talk, telling them I am there for them every saturday evening. And, soon I get to business. Want to check their reading skills, start with kannada. Ramya does a fundu job. One can't read better than that. Navya follows with good effort. Rani - okay. Jyothi is bad - given that shez kan med - and Amreen is okay. I make note of these in a slip, infact I give marks to them(more for my records). And, the kids keep glancing at the sheet. And, as the class goes on, we find a theme song for them - I mean a theme song is something I use with the kids I teach when they do badly, when my high-school kids used to do badly in their math, I used to sing...not exactly sing...'Ombathu, ombathu, ombathu....Tholla hallakke bithoo' and the kids would get the message. Mebbe 'Seven Eight, Nine....The Fox fell into the well' captures those lines.

Now, with these small kids, I came up, rather they came up with something fundu. As I was teaching, Rani began to sing the lastest craze 'Odimagga..oddimagga...oddimagga...bidabyada avanna!!!!!!!'..('Hit him...hit him..hit him...don't leave him!!!!!') thatz the line for the whenever I saw some kid going majorly wrong...I would say 'Odimagga odimagga'...point to her...and the rest of the kids gave her some nice blows!!!! The kids found this very amusing...they smiled, laughed & sang.

I was getting back to teaching such small kids after a long time almost 5+years. If you think teaching such small kids is cool. Well, well. Its fun surely, but then you must remember you are the focus of attention of several super-natural-beings. Angels or devils, it doesn't matter. They simply are the other sides of the coin.

The 5 kids were sitting around me, and its one complete graph - fully connected - each kid knows exactly what the other kid is doing, and react with no delay in the system. They believe in physical interactions. You sitting at the center - like one tall mountain surrounded by smaller peaks amuses them no extent. These bright eyed kids bring in such energy that one needs to take RedBull or something like that b4 getting into the arena. I still recall the scene in our Research room at CSA, IISc, we were teaching lots of construction worker kids, from 4 yr old to 12 yr old kinds. Our room had lots of chair and tables. And these kids, had come in, we locked the door, and these kids kept running all around, we guyz had to run and catch them. Making them sit is not so easy, it comes after days & months of exposure. So, I recall putting a small kid at the L shaped corner of a wall, he standing at that corner, I sitting in front, blocking both escape roots with my legs, he generally laughing....and I trying to teach something, phew...

But, know what, you do this once.....and you would simply love it, interacting, getting their attention, teaching things in a calm cool interesting way is quite challenging. Basic things, Alphabets, numbers, addition, subtraction, reading etc bring in challenges.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Namoora Mandhara Hoove

Seriously, ;-)) I don't know how a Mandhara Pushpa looks like though most people would. Yesterday - July 6th - happened to take a small walk towards Kumara Parvatha - Western ghats - less than 2 hour walk, and the following were what I saw. It was raining on & off.
The first chaps to catch my eye were these two. Not sure if they were fighting or smooching ;-) But seriously reminded me a lot of a close couple of mine, and a shot I took of them last weekend. Hey, can you guess the gender of these ?? I am not sure. I think both male & female cows have horns. And, apart from the obvious difference, which I think we can't notice here. Anything else ??

As I moved on this place was turning out to be a flowering paradise. Amazing flowers washed clean by the rains. And this is what caught my eye. They are conical clusters, and seem to be quite common.

I was approaching a small bridge, and a tributary of Netravati(??) was flowing hurriedly. Came across this butterfly. Infact, lotz of other species were seen, but flying too fast or not sitting anywhere at all.

As I was looking down the bridge onto a tree for butterflys, came across this chap. Was not so easy to pick, and infact seen better from the zoomed camera eye. This particular one sat there fora long long time, 11am when I first saw, 11:45 when I was walking back, and afternoon 3pm, when I went back for a quick look. It has a thin long body, and wings that have some darkening at the tips, and the wings are at some 30 degrees angles to the very slender body. Rarely, have I come across wings that don't close on the body. And, those eyes - simple or compound ??? ( generally throwing some jargon).

A common house-hold flower. Mandhara hoovu ??? I am not sure. Basically, I was walking on a street that led to the start of Kumara parvatha trek route with houses on both sides

Hey, this is further comments.

A bee does its job, look at the flower next to it.
This insect sat there, and wasn't scared of me. Lot of shots, he generally moved around & posed. Note, the yellow streak in it - matched with the yellow of the pollen/stamens (????). Okay, at this point I seemed to reach the outskirts of the town. Greenery seen to be believed, a farm looked this.

Moving on...I was nearing the start of the climb to Kumara parvatha. I was helped by couple of sign boards pointing the paths. And, soon I was climbing. And soon, a moth flew around, I waited it to sit somewhere. Surprise, sat on my feet for a long time, and then flew & this time settled on my pant.

As I climbed, the sound of the forests welcomed me. For a change the cicada's were silent. And a lot of birds sang....sang a lovely song. The call of the ghost-bird in Paheli seemed artificial but here, I seemed to hear such long calls. Recorded a few calls on my video, and then it started raining. I climbed up somemore - knew I had another 5 minutes b4 I turn back - at this point noticed 2 leaches on my feet, quickly got them away, and turned back ;-))

Videoed a leach. The movements are interesting, it seems to have a base(tail end) & a sensor head, both ends can stick. It senses for a hold with the head and then sticks it at a new position & then moves the tail also to the new position & sticks it. Frees the head now, and looks for the next step. It does this pretty fast.

There were a lot of Cacti's around, and this caught my attention. Somehow, reminds me of an Elephant .Reminded me of the Elephants we saw from the top of Savandurga - which Dharin couldn't locate for a long long time ;-))

As I descended, came across this farm again and these orange stuff sticking at the base of a tree . Adike mara (Beetel nut tree) I think. I couldn't go closer for a better shot. Any idea ??

Walked along. Saw a women washing clothes in a stream, men at work at a farm. Still raining. And, this time I had marked the plants for a good picture of these flowers. I see a lot of them in western ghats. Noticed them on the last trek. And, these were the best shots I got. Notice, the yellow & orange flowers (donno what the funda is)....yellow later turns to red or the other way ?? It has a lot of white leave like petals too closeby. Its very interesting. Took these shots in the rain.

The yellow guyz are drooping, is that a clue ?? red turns to yellow, droops & falls away.

It still was raining heavily, to my rescue were the now-old DC jacket & an hand-kerchief. Walked along hunting for my subjects. And, soon here was a lovely one, shielding the camera lens I took this shot. A nice colorful butterfly isn't it ??

Soon, I came across the plant I felt had the best view of these white flowers. They are heavenly ;-)) This along with the red conical ones were THE flowers for me in this trip.

A close up here, notice the fly like insect at the base of the stamens.

Okay, now for a quiz question.

How many sons does Lord Shiva & Parvathi have ?? (no daughters, strangely!!)

Stumped by the change in subject ??. Well, this had been in my head the last couple of days. I think, the answer is three. Ganesha, Subramanya & Aiyappa (north Indian crowd, may gasp at the third ;-)) But, then I was stumped when I continued to see a forth one in the family for almsot 2 continuous days. Come rain or shine. This 4th member stayed there, and didn't seem to budge.